Tag Archives: Missouri

Voter Fraud and the Missouri Senate Race

Earlier this month, the law on voting where you reside appears to have caught an unlikely person in an election law violation — Missouri’s Attorney General — and presumptive Republican Senate candidate — Josh Hawley.  To understand what happened, a little local background is in order.

The main campus of the University of Missouri is in Columbia — thirty miles away from the state capitol in Jefferson City.  Before becoming Attorney General, Hawley was a law professor at the University of Missouri.  Aside from his full time job, like some law professors, Hawley offered his assistance on cases that he thought deserved his assistance.  One of those cases involved aiding the religious owners of Hobby Lobby in their effort to deny birth control coverage to their female employees.  This case gave Hawley connections to ultra-conservative donors in Washington, and also was a selling point as he went around Missouri speaking to local Republicans in rural counties.   These two advantages allowed him to pull an upset last year in the Republican primary over the “establishment” conservative candidate in the Republican primary, and the Trump landslide helped him win the general election.

After the election is where the fun begins.  First, among the changes that flowed from the 2016 election, the new Republican governor appointed the state representative who represented part of Columbia and the surrounding area to an administration positions.  Before becoming Attorney General,  Hawley and his family lived in this district.   The Governor set the special election to fill this seat for this August (one of the available election dates under state law). Continue Reading...

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Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Three)

animated flag glitterAs evening turns into night in the Eastern and Central time zones, the pace picks up.  For whatever reason, 8:00 p.m. is a popular time for states in the Eastern time zone to close their polls as is 7:00 p.m. in the Central time zone.  As discussed in part two, lines at the polls means that the networks typically only have enough results to call races if the races are not close.  Most of the states that will be called by 8:00 p.m. are not the races that will decide the election.  Because most of the polls will have been closed for two hours, there is a good chance that the Indiana senate race may be called by 8:00 p.m.  There is some chance that Georgia (an at-risk state that Trump needs to win) or Virginia (an at-risk state that Clinton needs to win) will be called before 8:00 p.m.  Sixteen states will close their polls at 8:00 p.m. as will the polls in part of several other states.  While the results from the early states give some clues about the shape of the race, the shape of the race will become much clearer when the returns from these states start to come in.

8:00 p.m. (EST) — The remainder of the polls close in Florida.  The polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.  The polls close in the eastern part of Michigan, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas.  Several of these states should have quick calls for president, but several states are key states for the outcome of this election.  (Assuming that none of the “close” states from early are called by 8:15 p.m., the projected electoral vote should be approximately 76 for Trump and 55 for Clinton.)

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Primary Lessons from Missouri and Kansas

mo-sealThe primary votes in Missouri and Kansas reflect some realities of grass-roots campaigning and the current divisions in the Republican party.

On the Missouri side, “outsider” candidates won two of the three open Republican state-wide primaries.  In addition, several pro-labor Republican state representatives faced well-funded opponents after helping to defeat “right to work” legislation.  The results in these districts were mixed, but unless Democrats can win a couple more suburban seats, the risk of more anti-labor legislation remains.  In short, the Missouri Republican party (aided by the lack of any limit on donations making it easy for billionaires to run candidates that take extreme positions) is still sprinting toward the hard right.

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Missouri Primary

The state that gave voters Todd Akin in 2012 is back at it again.  Missouri used to have campaign finance limits, but — when the Republicans held the Governor’s mansion between 2005 and 2008 — those limits went away.  (There might be a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall to restore those limits.  In recent years, policy proposals have tended to be constitutional amendments to avoid any legislative attempts to repeal voter-approved legislation such as the original campaign finance limits.)  It is not unusual for one donor (actually one of two or three individuals) to give several hundred thousand dollars in seed money to a candidate.  As a result, the pre-filing period sees a lot of candidates changing races in response to these well-funded candidates.  Outside of the U.S. Senate race, each of the state-wide races (there are five state offices on the ballot) has a competitive primary on at least one side of the ballot.

Republicans like to describe Missouri as a state with two thorns in its sides.  The two thorns being the St. Louis area and the Kansas City area; both of which tend to vote for the “liberal” side of any proposition or race, often overcoming a “conservative” majority in almost all of the remaining counties.  This picture of Missouri tends to be reflected in the two primaries.  On the Democratic side, there is often a battle between St. Louis and Kansas City,  On the Republican side, it is often Springfield against the Kansas City and St. Louis exurbs.  On to the individual races.

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